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#pounditTuesday, July 23, 2024

Reporter floats theory about Charles Barkley’s retirement announcement

Charles Barkley holds a microphone

November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley made the surprising announcement last week that he will retire from broadcasting after the 2024-25 season, but at least one reporter who covers the media believes the Hall of Famer is making a leverage play.

After the Dallas Mavericks beat the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, Barkley said during the postgame show that next season will be his last working as an NBA TV analyst. The 61-year-old also said he is “not going nowhere other than TNT” despite having conversations with other networks.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports does not think Barkley is actually going to walk away. With increasing talk that TNT is not going to renew its NBA media rights agreement following next season, McCarthy believes Barkley could be trying to put pressure on the NBA to keep negotiating with TNT parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.

“After talking with ESPN, NBC, and Prime, Barkley said the only network he wants to work for is TNT. The message: Barkley and TNT are a package deal,” McCarthy wrote. “If NBA wants to keep the best analyst and best studio show on TV, then they should carve out a smaller, cheaper, fourth package that will keep TNT in the hoops game. Or allow it to ‘match’ offers from third-party bidders NBC and Prime.”

McCarthy also said one of his sources believes that Barkley announced a retirement plan just to get the media to stop asking him which network he might go to work for if TNT loses NBA rights.

Remember, Barkley said two years ago that he planned to retire from television after the 2023-24 season. He then signed a new 10-year, $100 million deal with TNT. There have been reports that he would get significantly more than that if TNT loses NBA rights and Sir Charles joins a new network.

It would hardly be a surprise if Barkley changes his mind about retiring again. Even the statement TNT released about Barkley’s big announcement left the door open for the partnership to continue beyond next season.

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